Friday, 5 December 2014

Author Interview: Shirley Mclain

Shirley Mclain, author of Dobyns Chronicles. Self-published using Xlibris Publishing.

Today we have a success story from Oklahoma. Dobyns Chronicles is Shirley Mclain's second novel inspired by the tales that her great grandfather told her as a child.

Dobyns Chronicles is a captivating celebration of the life of Charlie Dobyns. His life began in northeast Texas near Bonham, on the Red River. His Cherokee mother and cowboy father strove to survive on their river valley ranch. Tragedy ended this way of life for Charlie in 1888. Follow him through Chickasaw Territory and on to McAlester in eastern Oklahoma. 

This is a story of a changing way of life and adaptations made to survive. Charlie's strong passion for life and dignity equipped him for survival as he raised his siblings with, likeability and dignity. It’s a story of loss, misfortune, hard times and heartbreak, but also love, determination, kindness, joy and spirituality. 

Follow Charlie’s life through the adventures that shaped the man he became, and that of his family for generations.


How long did it take you write Dobyns Chronicles?

I worked on the book for about three years. When I finished writing it, I took almost a year to get it edited the way I wanted. I think the lack of proper English in places drove my editors a little crazy!

Where did you get the inspiration from?

The inspiration came from my mother. Mama would tell my sister and I stories about her grandparents and parents back at the turn of the century.

What is your favourite book/author? 

I actually have two and both are very well known. I love the Outlander series by Diane Gabeldon and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I love the way they suck you right into the story with the characters. A lot of writers can't do that with their work. That's probably the reason they are on top of their profession.

When did you first realise you wanted to be an author?

I have always liked to read and write but I didn't really get into it until after I had retired from 32 years of being an RN. I woke up one morning and the thought was in my head that I would write a book. That's just what I did. My first book was a young adult fiction called The Tower. That book was totally fun to write and a big learning experience that lead to the Dobyns Chronicles.

What did you do to prepare your novel for publication?
With Dobyns Chronicles I had it professionally edited twice, plus had several pre published readers to give me feedback. I also did a lot of genealogy work to make sure my time line was correct.

What was the hardest part?

I always find the editing the hardest part. I am one of those people who want things to go fast and editing is not fast at all. I also find that advertising can be very expensive. Trying to keep your book in front of people takes a lot of work.

Did anything surprise you?

If anything surprised me it has been the reviews on Amazon. They have been great and that makes me want to share my story with more people.

Are you glad you went through with it?

Absolutely. Even if I didn't sell a single copy, the experience of living my great grand-parents lives through my story made me feel closer to them. It was a wonderful experience. The story frame is true but most of the particulars in the story are fiction.

What is your best piece of advice?

If it is in you to write, all you have to do is start. Pay attention to what is around you and take note either in your head or keep it on paper. If the idea comes to write a novel, put the bare bones down. Just write and then you can go back and back fill, make changes and such.

I wrote The Tower in six months but I spent two years writing on Dobyns Chronicles. I think that authors find their own way in planning and writing their book. You have to do what feels natural and good to you; I don’t think trying to follow someone else’s plan works.

Your inner muse will show you the way you need to go.

Another piece of advice is that you must certainly read all you can about the craft of writing and also books by different authors. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of fellow writers. You will find the majority of them, if not all will be very glad to help and answer your questions.

Who would you recommend it to, and who would you deter from self-publishing?

I would recommend it to all new writers and I would not deter anyone from self publishing. I would encourage them to do their homework and to make sure they know what they are taking on.

What publisher have you used and how would you rate them?

For two of the books (The Tower and Dobyns Chronicles) I used Xlibris Publishing. They did an excellent job with the end product. The negative is you need to know what you want because if you make changes other than what’s in your purchased package it will cost you more money. My ebooks I published through Amazon and they did a great job also – I can’t say I had a negative with that process!


Author Profile

You can find our more about Shirley Mclain through her website and through her blog. Also, don't forget to purchase a copy of Dobyns Chronicles from Amazon!